Guingona: RCBC execs behind money laundering scam

Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC)
Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC)

MAIA Santos-Deguito, manager of Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) Jupiter branch, revealed during a closed-door meeting at Senate that she was just used in the alleged $81-million money laundering scheme, said blue ribbon committee chairperson Teofisto Guingona III.

Guingona, who presided over the inquiry into the billions of dollars allegedly stolen from Bangladesh central bank and transferred in the country, said lots of new names cropped up during the executive session.

“It seems right now, that she was — to say the least — negligent. But there are bigger persons behind these whole thing and names are coming out already,” Guingona told reporters at the sidelines of the hearing.

“It’s really going deeper, and I think it will not be finished by just one hearing, most especially that the new names that were revealed are very controversial and we have to make sure we get to the bottom of this,” he added.

Guingona said Deguito named two “senior executives” of RCBC who were allegedly involved in the money laundering but he clarified that there was still no “concrete evidence” whether her allegation was true.

Asked then if Deguito’s testimony could incriminate some individuals, he said: “Yes, it is really an eye opener, and at least, we know, according to her story. We still have to vet it with other testimony. We know now that from her story, it seems that she was just used and that there was really a prime mover in all these and he is here in the Philippines.”

Lawyer Ferdinand Topacio, Deguito’s legal counsel, expressed confidence that the committee would look into the names that were mentioned during the executive session.

“We have already said the truth in the executive session. I’m sure (the panel) will favor what Deguito had said earlier and that the names mentioned by Deguito will be considered,” Topacio said after the hearing.

Guingona said the committee has to conduct a series of inquiries, as there are unanswered questions.

“A lot of senators still have a lot of questions. It’s still a long way before we finish the trail that started from New York to RCBC Jupiter, and then to William Go’s account, and then to Philrem, and then back to RCBC,and then back to Philrem, and then to casinos,” the senator said.

“We have to show that we have the resolve to make sure that this will not happen again,” he added.

The next Senate hearing is scheduled on March 29.

The $81 million, allegedly stolen by cyber theft, was allegedly transferred by New York’s Reserve Bank in early February to five bank accounts in RCBC. It was then transferred to foreign exchange broker Philrem Service Corporation for conversion into peso and later on transferred back to RCBC under the name of Go.

The funds from Go’s bank account were then moved to the local casinos, namely Solaire Resort and Casino, City of Dreams, and Midas and later on remitted to accounts in Hong Kong.

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